Printer Friendly

Falcons are saved by judge's verdict.

Byline: By Nick Purewal

Disaster struck in the dying seconds at Kingston Park last night ( almost.

Saracens centre Rodd Penney collected a quick lineout, raced 60 yards through an unaligned Falcons defence and touched down for a try that, if converted, would snatch victory.

Six points had separated the sides, but Penney's sucker-punch score looked to have turned the tide.

To a man the Falcons were aghast ( what a kick in the teeth, what a body blow.

Would this drag the Falcons right back into the relegation mire?

John Fletcher and Co's hearts were not in their mouths, they were pulsating through their chests.

But then, suddenly, salvation ( a ray of light appeared, in the form of touch judge Steve Savage.

Walking on to the pitch to have a quick chat with referee Rob Debney, he informed the man in the middle that the try should not be given.

Why? Because the quick throw was not taken from the mark.

There were other reasons ( a crowd member had touched the ball, and a regular lineout looked pretty much formed as well.

Decision reversed and, with a huge collective sigh, the crowd turned on its heel and back to its seat.

One minute absolute disaster, the next delirium.

The Falcons have never been experts at closing out matches, but they got away with this one.

In a season of high-octane rugby, the Falcons turned their backs on their own custom, keeping it tight up front in the last 10 to protect the lead.

Winning ugly is about as beautiful as sport can get sometimes, and after this John Fletcher will have no trouble seeing his side's inner beauty.

All the tries came in the first half, and Newcastle's brace came from their only two inroads into Saracens territory in that period.

From the off, Vaikona totally lost Crichton's high ball, and paid the ultimate price.

Geoff Parling raced through, collecting the ball as it bounced resolutely off the turf to romp to the line.

Crichton's touchline conversion bounced on the bar and over, and to all intents and purposes that was that for the Falcons until the Samoan shimmied home in the half's dying seconds.

Substitute prop Cencus Johnston clothes-lined Joe McDonnell and walked to the sin-bin for his troubles.

Crichton kicked to the corner, and from the first drive Matt Thompson went close with a powering run.

Then Crichton tucked the ball under his arm, gritted his teeth and stepped to the line.

In between those two scores were mistakes aplenty.

Saracens returned one of many poorly-chased high balls, and No 8 Paul Gustard hammered to the line.

Noon couldn't put enough pressure on his own kick, and when Kris Chesney fed Gustard down the line, he strolled in. Three Glen Jackson penalties pushed Sarries ahead, but Crichton's try hauled the Falcons back into it.

In truth the Falcons never got going before the turnaround, with defensive disarray plaguing a dogged forward effort.

No matter, because they toughed it out after the break.

And, heart-stopping drama aside, they deserved their win in what was a stodgy and sometimes skill-light contest.

Newcastle still have not lost at home since November 10 ( how priceless that home form looks now, as next week's opposition Worcester make a late charge for survival.
COPYRIGHT 2007 MGN Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 10, 2007
Words:548
Previous Article:Wilson boosts roster at last.
Next Article:Fletcher's relief at hard-fought win.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters